Years ago I was challenged to “think with my pen”.
(That shows how long ago it was; we seldom use pens anymore. Now is is “Think with you keyboard.” But anyway, I drift…)
So, writing my blogs is something I truly enjoy just for the exercise of working through things that are on my mind.
However, I must add that it always brings me joy when I hear back from readers who mention that my random ruminations actually helped them.
And then a few days ago I got the ultimate return on my efforts, my wife commented that a recent blog had helped her. (What man, in his right mind, doesn’t like making his wife happy?)
The blog that helped her was “I’m sitting this one out.” (Here’s the link if you’d like to read it.)
Here’s the background…
Several years ago Sonja began supporting a special mission project that was doing amazing work overseas. Her motivation was love. She was touched by the bravery and sacrifice of the amazing people who were devoting themselves to ministry in a very challenging enviroment.
Sonja, to this day, faithfully and, I might add, generously supports this amazing ministry.
However, desperate people sometimes put desperate pressure on others. Sonja is constantly being bombarded by petitions to give even more and even more frequently and this has begun to stress her a lot.
It’s not that she doesn’t care, but she also has other causes that she supports, and like all humans, she has limits on her ability to give and serve.
This leads me to my point (I know, “Finally!”)
Reading “I’m sitting this one out” gave Sonja peace to say no. Not no to what she is currently doing, but no to being motivated by guilt. Somewhere along the way, her giving stopped being about love and generosity and started being about not wanting to disappoint and not wanting to feel guilty.
I think we are motivated more by guilt than we realize or are willing to admit.
I think we’re motivated more by guilt than we realize or are willing to admit.
Now there are two reasons we feel guilty.
The first is because we are guilty!
And that is the message of Christianity – we can be free from guilt once and for all.
But there’s another reason we feel guilty, and that is, we allow people to make us feel guilty (even when we are not).
That is no way to live. Anyway you dice it, guilt is a negative emotion. It may prod us to do good things but it robs us of the joy of living and it has no sustaining power. Like a drug addict, if we allow ourselves to be motivated by guilt, it will take more and more guilt to get us moving and eventually we find ourselves in a very, very unhealthy relationship and enviroment.
Perhaps that describes you.
I am declaring today “Freedom Day.”
Today is Freedom Day!!!
First, if you really are guilty, take it to the Cross of Jesus Christ and ask for forgiven. It is free, available, and guaranteed.
Second, if others (including your own inner voice) are trying to lay a guilt trip on you, fire them. You don’t need that travel agent.
The ONE THING for today: Living a guilt free life doesn’t mean you don’t take responsibility for your actions, but it does mean you don’t take responsibility for other people’s unreasonable expectations.